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Kitchen area at Buddy V’s

Buddy V’s Ristorante at The Venetian serves up homemade the Italian-American comfort food that TLC’s “Cake Boss” star, Buddy Valastro, is famous for. Located far from restaurant row, Buddy V’s can be a little hard to find, but it’s well worth seeking out. The restaurant itself is large and airy with an open kitchen and nice views of the northern end of the Strip. The atmosphere is welcoming and seating is well spaced out.

We have visited several times, mostly during the early afternoon for lunch. Here’s a look at some of the food we have enjoyed.

Oreccheitte and Italian-Sasuage

One of my favorite meals is the Oreccheitte with Italian Sausage. I like it with an order of grilled garlic bread. Every bite is packed with flavor.

Grilled Salmon at Buddy V’s

If you are saving room for dessert then the the grilled salmon with a mediterranean chickpea & artichoke salad is a delicious and lite(ish) main course.

When it comes to desserts the “Cake Boss” doesn’t disappoint. From fresh cannoli’s to delicious cakes and cheesecake we have never regretted ordering dessert at Buddy V’s.

Overall, Buddy V’s is one of our favorite spots for Italian cuisine. The restaurant also has a solid happy hour with $5 prosecco and $6 small bites. Quick tip, You can also sit in the bar area and order Cannoli’s. Much more relaxing than waiting in line at Carlo’s Bakery across the hallway.

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The Venetian Las Vegas, 3355 Las Vegas Blvd. (866) 725-2990 buddyvsrestaurants.com

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Located at the Rio All Suites hotel, El Burro Borracho serves up a wide range of Mexican dishes with that special flavortown punch that Guy Fieri is renown for. It’s a large and colorful restaurant that offers a wide range of seating and views of the pool area. The price point is a little higher than we would like for an off-strip property (who started the trend of paying for chips and salsa?) but the portions are generous so it’s not all bad news.

We last visited during restaurant week and took advantage of a timely dinner deal. We arrived at around 5pm and there was no wait. By the time we had finished though, the restaurant had filled up with players from a WSOP event that was taking part that day. Here’s what we ordered.

Chips and Guac

Undeterred by the $3 price tag, we started out with bottomless chips and salsa. We also ordered guacamole and one of the restaurants signature cocktails, the Caliente Margarita. The guac was solid, however the margarita was a little on the fiery side for us. If you like drinks with a kick, go for it, however we’d probably try the Cadillac Margarita next time.

Grilled Street Corn

The Grilled Street Corn was a highlight of the meal. Perfectly charred and served with crema, Chile de arbol, crumbled Cotija cheese and slices of lime. Sharing is a little awkward. You either have to risk a finger by slicing through it, or just gnaw on different sides of the cob.

Borracho Platter

The Borracho Platter is a decent option if you feel like sharing a dinner. You get to choose an entrée, taco and enchilada and the platter is served with rice, beans, and flour tortillas. We went with the pollo, chipotle pork taco, and Queso Casero enchilada.

Overall, El Burro Borracho provides a fun and casual dining experience. It’s a solid choice for all Guy Fieri fans and anybody staying within walking distance of the Rio.

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Rio Las Vegas, 3700 W Flamingo Rd. (855) 888-3463 guyfieri.com

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Las Vegas restaurant week is back. Running June 18th 2018 through June 29th 2018 it’s time to “help out by dining out” at some of the best restaurants in town. Over 150 restaurants are participating offering exclusive prix-fixe lunch and dinner menus. The best part of restaurant week is that a portion of the proceeds from each meal is donated to Three Square food bank.

We decided to kick things off with a casual lunch at Yardbird Southern Table and Bar. We went with a simple starter salad, the chicken sandwich and a turtle pecan brownie for dessert. As usual, the food and atmosphere was wonderful.

If you are lucky enough to be in town over the next few days visit https://www.helpoutdineoutlv.org/ and take this opportunity to treat yourself to a special meal at one of Las Vegas’ finest restaurants today!

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Nothing in life is free. Yeah, tell that to people who get to enjoy all of the free — yes, free — attractions in Vegas.

Sure, you’re probably plunking your hard-earned dollars into the slots or throwing dolla’ dolla’ bills on the tables, but come on, once you’ve folded, it’s nice to know you can still get something (for nothing) out of Sin City.

1. The Mirage Volcano

Experience the eruption of a volcano — minus the catastrophic damages. Every night in front of The Mirage, you can check out a force of nature, kind of. This man-made volcano erupts nightly, weather permitting, at 8pm and 9pm. Friday and Staurday nights feature a third explosion at 10pm. Think smoke and fire rising 100 feet into the arid Las Vegas air. Set to music. It’s like nature meets Las Vegas.

2. Bellagio Fountains

The famed fountains outside of Bellagio cannot be missed. Just ask the throngs of people who line-up against the fence each day to witness the spectacular water show unfold in the 8-acre lake. These dancing fountains are timed to music ranging from classical to Broadway and more. To check out the free beauty, head to the front of the hotel after 3 p.m. during the week, or noon on weekends. Shows run until midnight and operate every 30 minutes during the day and every 15 minutes at night. Take note — if it is windy, the show won’t go on.

3. The Welcome to Las Vegas Sign

You’ve probably seen the infamous sign in posters, on T-shirts … well, just about everywhere when Vegas is mentioned. This iconic sign can also be in your own photos. Located at both the North and South ends of The Strip (the popular one is just south of Mandalay Bay), the sign is open 24 hours a day. You can glimpse newlyweds smooching, bachelorettes getting that final Facebook photo before heading out to the clubs and even Big Bird. Just say “cheese.”

4. Bellagio Conservatory

Bellagio Conservatory and Botanical Gardens


Once you’ve enjoyed the free fountains, step inside Bellagio to explore the conservatory and botanical gardens. The whimsical botanical gardens are updated seasonally and have been known to feature everything from a working water mill to cranberry-filled ponds. There are more than 100 horticulturists who maintain the gardens, arranging floral works of art around gazebos and winding pathways. 5. The Wildlife Habitat

Housed at The Flamingo, The Wildlife Habitat is a popular free attraction for families. Inside the habitat, animal-lovers can find a flock of Chilean Flamingos, plus plenty of other feathered friends. The newest addition to the exhibit are brown pelicans rescued from California in 2012. Set next to the Flamingo pool area, it’s a chance to view entirely different animals.


6. Fremont Street Experience

Downtown Las Vegas is not to be skipped for the freebies. Sure, you can get a thrill simply people-watching here, but the Fremont Street Experience is the real attraction for out-of-towners. Simply look up at the canopy packed with millions of LED lights to create different displays set to music. Plus, there are heaps of free concerts to enjoy between the light shows.

7. First Friday

Spread over Downtown, First Friday is the merging of art and culture. And locals. Here, you can stroll through the many galleries packed into the Arts District, sip wine (OK, that’s not free), and check out the local art scene. There’s live music, performances and more. It runs the first Friday of every month (hence the name) and is a perfect way to get a glimpse of real(!), live(!) people living in Vegas.

8. Circus Acts at Circus Circus

If you don’t want to spend time at AdventureDome, the huge indoor amusement park at the children-friendly resort, then head over and visit the circus midway. The kiddies will love the free circus shows they can enjoy, complete with jugglers, acrobats, trapeze artists and other performers. Yes, there are clowns. Bragging rights: it’s the world’s largest permanent circus. The fun starts every day at 11 a.m.

9. CityCenter Fine Art Collection

CityCenter offers free art for your culture fix. Artists like Maya Lin, Henry Moore and others are packed into the property for your viewing pleasure. It may be packed into the high-end shopping area, but the art here is truly stunning and worth turning a blind eye to Prada for.

10. Cosmopolitan Art

Speaking of art, The Cosmopolitan resort is packed with art. From the cool Art-O-Matic machines where you can snatch up original art for a few bucks, to the world’s biggest chandelier to the huge high-heeled shoe you can take a photo with, art abounds thanks to Cosmopolitan’s embracing artists like Yoko Ono and other big names.

Editor’s Bonus Picks Ka Open House

Enter the spectacle and fantasy world of Cirque du Soliel … without spending a penny. Every Tuesday and Saturday, Ka opens its world to the public. Located inside MGM, guests can get a behind-the-scenes look at the renowned show and what goes into creating the whimsical world of Ka. Opens houses run Tuesday at 11 a.m. and 11:30 a.m., and Saturdays at noon and 12:30 p.m. To take advantage of this opportunity and experience the world of Cirque, simply check-in at the theater doors.

Jame Turrell’s “Akhob”

Who would have thunk the latest art installation would come courtesy of Louis Vuitton? Well, it has. The French luxury store at City Center is now home to a permanent piece of art, Jame Turrell’s “Akhob,” meaning pure water in Egyptian. Housed on the fourth floor, the installation is the largest of the artist’s light fields and is made up of two chambers with circular openings and a pattern of light in pinks, blues and orange which slowly changes in 24-minute cycles. Take the time and chill out from the sensory overload of The Strip with Turrell’s latest piece. By reservation only (702) 730-3150.

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DO you have a favorite free attraction in Las Vegas? Join in the discussion below and let us know about your favorite Vegas freebie!

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Vegas will always be synonymous with “bachelor party” (cough, Hangover, cough), but the new five-star Sin City is also packed with spas, shows, and activities for the ultimate girls’ getaway. So don’t sit back and let the boys have all the fun. It’s time to grab to grab your besties and prep for a weekend of the best spa treatments, brunches, and bubbly.

1) Hotels

Courtesy of The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas


Planning for the perfect girls getaway begins with finding the right place to lay your heads. My favorite: Cosmopolitan. With roomy suites and sweeping views of the Strip from spacious terraces, plus a floor of stellar restaurants and a lobby that’s always packed, you just might never leave. Or up the ante and go for a Sky Villa, 7,000 square feet of extravagance at Aria. Your whole gang could room together and pre-game while getting ready for your girls’ night out. Quieter groups might prefer the new loft-like suites at Four Seasons, a quiet oasis to come home to, but connected to Mandalay Bay when it’s time to party. 2) Brunch

No girls’ trip is complete without a boozy brunch for gossip and hair-of-the-dog relief. A long-time staple for Vegas locals is Border Grill (at Mandalay Bay and Forum Shops), which offers unlimited mimosas and yummy small plates on weekends. Or hit Verandah at Four Seasons Saturday or Sunday for a taste of luxury that’s popular with local socialites. Venetian’s Buddy V’s is the newest brunch hot spot, with an over-the-top Sunday buffet, or dine on French fare seven days a week in the dazzling atrium at Mon Ami Gabi.

3) Photo Ops

Nothing beats a group selfie in front of the famous dancing fountains at Bellagio. Street-side works, or have early-evening cocktails at Hyde inside the hotel. Their patio offers the best shot, with the romantic Paris Hotel in the background. Want the classic “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign snap? Ask a cabbie to take you – it’s just a few minutes south of Mandalay Bay.

4) Spas

Photo Courtesy Wynn Resorts


Indulge in five-star pampering at any only-in-Vegas spectacular spa, but especially consider my favorites Canyon Ranch and Wynn Encore. Canyon Ranch, at Venetian/Palazzo, is so expansive, you and your girls could easily spend a whole day getting facials, massages, scrubs and salon services. Planning a bachelorette party? Book the private Bridal Suite, where you can pop some champagne and have quick access to the salon, Aquavana, and amenities. Or head to jaw-dropping Encore, where the entrance alone is truly awe-inspiring. (One word: gold.) After your walk down the grand corridor to the garden villas and opulent clothing-optional pools, you’ll never want to leave. 5) Shopping

Every visitor to Vegas with even the smallest interest in shopping heads straight to Fashion Show Mall. After you’ve shopped till you dropped, rest your weary feet at locals hangouts El Secundo or Ra Sushi, overlooking the Strip. Or enter the Rome-themed Forum Shops, where you can taste homemade gelato, have your picture taken at the Fountain of the Gods, and load up on Gucci, all within a few square feet. Need a break from the Strip and maybe some vitamin D? Jump in a cab to Town Square, just a few minutes south of Mandalay Bay for outdoor shopping and dining.


6) Activities

Photo credit: Stratosphere Casino, Hotel & Tower


Into thrills? Then Las Vegas has all the tricks to get your blood pumping. Big Shot, the free-fall ride on top of the Stratosphere, is the crème de la crème. When the elevator doors open to views of the Vegas valley from more than 900 feet – and you haven’t even been catapulted up on the ride yet? You’ll know you’re amazing to earn some major bragging rights the next time your comparing Vegas weekends with the boys. Or maybe you were thinking something just a tad bit mellower. The High Roller, the world’s tallest observation wheel, is located at the LINQ open-air shopping district. The 30-minute ride lets you see the sparkling city from every angle as you watch and walk around in 360-degree view pods. Look into their “happy half-hour” drinking option. 7) Dinner

Who commits to entrees anymore? Kidding, but what group of girls doesn’t like bites and tastes of small-plate shares at places like La Cave at Wynn Las Vegas and Cosmopolitan’s Jaleo, which boasts killer Spanish food like mini endive boats and decadent bread with tomato and olive oil puree. Or dig into the best red meat in town at Gordon Ramsay Steak. Steakhouses are king in Vegas because of bachelor parties, but why let the boys have all the fun?

8) Shows

The obvious clichéd option is Chippendales at Rio – because it really is that much fun. A stage full of immaculate men dancing and singing their hearts out, with just the right amount of camp? You know you want to. Or indulge your celeb crush from the 1990s and buy tickets to Boyz II Men, at Mirage. You’ll know every word to every song – and you just might go home with a rose. And I always, always have to mention Absinthe. I call it “old-school Cirque-style with just the right amount of raunch.” You’ve never laughed so hard – and the acts are jaw-dropping.

9) Cocktails

Photo Credit: MGM Resorts International


It’s time to get those girls’ nights started! I’ve already mentioned Bellagio’s Hyde, but its neighbor Lily is also an excellent option, especially later in the night. Beautiful, couture cocktails with any type of alcohol you’re craving. Or spend some time moving among the floors of Chandelier at Cosmopolitan. With a million Swarovski crystals drooped above your head, drinking champagne has never felt so decadent. 10) Nightclubs

Photo Courtesy of TAO Nightclub


Going all out in Vegas means dancing the night away at one of its famous clubs. Make sure to find a VIP host walking around the casino during the day, as there are many deals available for all-girl groups. My sentimental favorite will always be Tao at Venetian, which is built around one main dance floor, allowing the energy to build in the whole club the later it gets. Or for the biggest DJ names, head to Omnia at Caesars Palace or its sister club Hakkasan at MGM.

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Over the years, we have been lucky to dine at Mesa Grill several times. We love the casual yet upscale feel and the focus on southwestern cuisine means that your taste buds are always in for a treat. If you are dining as a couple but don’t want to feel crowded, ask the hostess if they have a four-top available. This is a request they can usually accommodate during lunch service and you’ll appreciate the extra space. Dining at Mesa Grill doesn’t have to be a budget buster; some of the lunch items like the burgers cost under $20, which isn’t bad for a celebrity-branded restaurant in the heart of the Strip. Here’s a run down of some of our favorite lunch options.

The Bread Basket

This is not your typical breadbasket, folks, and just so you know, our photograph doesn’t do this justice. Filled with cinnamon-raisin scones, blue and yellow cornbread muffins, blueberry coffee cake, and mini jalapeno cheese biscuits, the bread basket at Mesa Grill is full of tasty delights.  You’ll want to eat it all, but hold back because you need to save room for….

The Burgers

Burger lovers, you are in for a treat! If you are in the mood for a good old-fashioned burger (juicy beef with melted cheddar and sauteed onions), then it doesn’t get much better than the Mesa Burger. Our favorite, though, is the Green Chile Cheeseburger. It is no secret that Bobby loves his chilies and this burger, which is smothered in creamy queso sauce, features a roasted trio of poblano, Hatch, and serrano chilies. Both burgers are served with a side of southwestern fries. They are super crispy, yet full of potatoey goodness while seasoned with a subtle, smoky kick. Dee-licious!

Appetizer Salads

Want to keep things light? Mesa Grill has two delicious appetizer salads to choose from. Sophie’s chopped salad is a popular choice, but our favorite is The Baby Romaine Salad. The combination of chorizo, roasted garlic dressing and cotija cheese packs a powerful flavor punch while the warm hominy croutons provide the crunch. We could eat this. All. Day. Long.

Sticky Toffee Pudding

Somehow,  you need to save room for dessert. More specifically, save room for the Sticky Toffee Pudding! This warm chocolate cake has an ooey-gooey center, caramel on the top and bottom, and chocolatey rice crispy treats sitting on top. It’s served with a small scoop of vanilla ice cream that slowly melts on the plate and perfectly compliments the cake. Yum Yum!

Mesa Grill: Caesars Palace, 3570 S Las Vegas Blvd., (702) 731-7731 mesagrill.com

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You might think that a town known for bachelor parties and “guy trips” would have a bar or lounge dedicated to enjoying a cigar at every turn. That couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, it’s not easy to find a cigar bar or lounge in Las Vegas where you can light up and grab a drink with your friends or like minded people.

Here are some of the best places on the Vegas Strip and Downtown Las Vegas where you can grab a cigar and relax without fearing that you might bother or offend anyone with your smoke.

Montecristo (Caesars Palace)

This is newest cigar lounge and bar in Las Vegas and it’s located right in the center of the Vegas Strip. It’s always easy to say that the newest of anything is the best but Montecristo legitimately might be the best cigar bar and lounge on the Vegas Strip. The 100 seat bar and lounge has four distinct areas – The Signature Bar, The Library, The Courtyard and The Vault Room – in just 4,000 square feet of space. The state-of-the-art ventilation system keeps air circulating in the relatively large cigar lounge. This comes in handy when you’re lined up at the bar playing video poker. Montecristo has the high-end feeling that you’re looking for in that once a year or once in a lifetime experience.

3570 S Las Vegas Blvd., (866) 227-5938 caesars.com

Davidoff of Geneva Cigar Bar (Fashion Show Mall)

This cigar bar is different from any other Davidoff location that you’ll find in Las Vegas. The cigar bar has a large humidifier with an equally large selection of cigars. The bar offers the high-end spirits and signature cocktails that you can pair nicely with a cigar. This bar is unique in that you can smoke outside on the patio just above the Vegas Strip or inside at the bar, in lounge chairs or in your own VIP nook. The Davidoff Cigar Bar is a great location for beginners as the friendly and knowledgeable staff will help guide you through the large selection of cigars.

3200 S Las Vegas Blvd., (702) 473-5001 davidoffcigarbarlv.com

Casa Fuente (Caesars Palace Forum Shops)


There was a time in Las Vegas when it felt as though Casa Fuente was the only game in town if you wanted an experience dedicated to smoking a cigar. There are more places to grab a smoke than ever but Casa Fuente in the Caesars Palace Forum Shops remains one of the best. Sure the humidor has a great selection of cigars and the staff is great but the drinks are what really make every visit special. Everything from the espresso to mojitos and sangria makes this a cigar bar fit for any mood.

3500 S Las Vegas Blvd., (702) 731-5051 casafuente.com

Andre’s (Monte Carlo)

Photo Courtesy of MGM Resorts International

Andre’s may be known by most who visit Las Vegas as a fine dining French restaurant but that’s just the tip of the iceberg here. Drinkers and smokers know Andre’s for the cigar lounge with a large whiskey and wine menu. The lounge would best be described as cozy and it’s probably best enjoyed by a group of 2-4 people. The selection of cigars is smaller than the competition but just enough options for all price ranges. Andre’s has a great location at Monte Carlo just off The Park and offers excellent Happy Hour and Whiskey specials.

3770 S Las Vegas Blvd., (702) 798-7151 andrelv.com

Binion’s Cigar Lounge

Unlike the other cigar bars, the Cigar Lounge at Binion’s doesn’t sell cigars it’s just a nice relaxed environment to hang out and smoke with your friends. You can purchase cigars from Vato Cigars inside of Binion’s. This kind of cigar lounge would be a perfect addition to any casino floor. It’s a nice environment to smoke without being concerned about others who may not want your smoke. The mellow environment has big comfy chairs and a few tvs. Like most businesses in downtown Las Vegas, you’ll find that the prices for cigars at Vato’s and drinks in the casino are very affordable.

Binions Gambling Hall; 128 Fremont St., (702) 366-7327

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You can now enjoy Cracker Barrel’s made-from-scratch biscuits in Las Vegas! The famous old country store just opened its first Nevada location, outside the Silverton Hotel. Serving breakfast (all day), lunch, and dinner the restaurant is open 6 a.m. – 10 a.m. Sunday through Thursday and 6 a.m. – 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.

There has been a lot of buzz in the buildup to the store’s opening, resulting in a very busy opening week. We checked in around noon on a Thursday and the wait for a table was well over one hour. While waiting for a table, guests can peruse the gift shop or relax on the outdoor patio in a rocking chair, although the proximity to Interstate 15 and soaring triple digit temperatures may not make this the most comfortable setting at times. Still, it’s great to finally see Cracker Barrel reach Las Vegas. With over 600 locations open nationwide, our only question is what took them so long?

Cracker Barrel Old Country Store: 8350 Dean Martin Drive Las Vegas, NV. (888) 123-4567 crackerbarrel.com

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The Linq Hotel is built using the bones of Imperial Palace and O’Sheas. Once know as The Quad, The Linq Hotel name matches the name of the shopping and dining promenade outside that’s simply known as The Linq. The promenade is also the gateway to the High Roller observation wheel you can see from just about anywhere in Las Vegas.

The Linq Hotel positions itself as a high-tech property for a younger connected traveler. Today’s younger travelers aren’t as concerned with the size of their hotel room as they are how connected the room is and how close they are to great experiences. Well, The Linq Hotel checks off both marks.

The small basic rooms were appropriate for the time when the Imperial Palace opened in 1959. Those small rooms start at just under 300 square feet. Each room has been renovated and moderately stylized for today’s connected visitor who needs ample charging outlets, high-speed wifi and an affordable place to rest their head.

Beds

The Deluxe Double Room is approximately 300 square feet. I received an upgrade to a High Roller view. This room was a corner and a little larger than some of the other rooms. However, the extra space was left empty and fairly useless besides room for luggage and stretching out.

The pillow top beds were comfortable and unlike some Caesars hotels. The pillows were almost equally dense which, again, you don’t find in all Caesars hotels. Some other hotels (Paris, Rio) have an uncomfortable array of pillows that can make for a rough night.

The small end table in between the two beds had a phone and lamp with two outlets. There wasn’t room for much more than two devices and eyeglasses at the end of the night.

Word of caution if you decide to get a High Roller view room. The sun rises in the east and directly into your room if you have a head on view of the High Roller. The room heats up very quickly in the morning during the summer when sunrise is around 6 a.m. The change in temperature is enough that a light sleeper you may want a different view.

Intelligent Closet

Since the rooms are so small, The Linq has eschewed basic dressers and armoires for an intelligently designed closet. This large closet isn’t only a place to hang clothes. It’s also home to 2 dresser drawers, a mini refrigerator, a safe and a couple of shelves. The actual closet section is a little wider than a luggage rack. If you’re traveling with long dresses or suit jackets this space might be a little tight.

As you can see in the photo above, The Linq Hotel provides a couple bottles of water each day. This isn’t very costly for the hotel and it’s a nice touch for a budget hotel.

TV and Workspace

Each room comes with a 47” LED television which hangs on the wall. Well, it has to hang on the wall because there isn’t a desk or table in the room for the TV to sit on. The TV and lack of dresser or table is a great example of how The Linq Hotel maximizes space in the room.

There’s a small bump-out to use as a workspace near the first bed when you enter the room. The rooms don’t have a full-sized desk, dresser or table. Frankly, the small rail is sufficient for keys, wallet, mobile phones and most things you place on a table at the end of the night. The small workspace has ample room and outlets to charge multiple devices or to work if you need.

The intelligent closet design and the workspace + rail offer the illusion of space so that the rooms don’t feel small. Even though a younger traveler may not need a large room, they don’t necessarily want to feel confined when they’re in a room. Additionally, the typical Caesars Entertainment customer is an older customer who might be used to rooms with more space. The design plays nicely for both demographics.

Bathroom

Much like the rest of the room at The Linq, the bathroom isn’t large but it’s well designed. The first thing you’ll notice is the lack of a swinging door. The sliding barnyard style door isn’t ideal for privacy but it does the trick. If you don’t want people to hear what’s happening in the bathroom, I suggest using the wifi to stream music or make sure the TV is on in the main room.

When you’re inside the bathroom you’ll notice that the hotel doesn’t provide moisturizer. This is a must with the dry air in Las Vegas. Housekeeping will bring some if you request it. The thing you won’t notice in the photo is that the toilet is about an inch or two higher than normal. You don’t find higher toilets in many Las Vegas hotels outside of The Venetian and The Palazzo. Tall people might love this but shorties might need the travel version of the squatty potty.

Shower

The other thing you’ll notice in the bathroom is that there isn’t a bathtub. There’s an extremely large shower with a high rainshower shower head. The space in the shower is fantastic but the showerhead isn’t very powerful. The large space makes it comfortable to take a longer shower that you’ll very likely need to clean yourself.

One of the most strange amenities to remove are the shower toiletries. I love to take home the small bottles and think about my last time visiting Las Vegas. Well, you can’t do that at The Linq. Shampoo, conditioner and body wash are all provided by a dispenser. It’s awkward at first because it’s different but it’s really not all that inconvenient.

Overall

The base rooms at The Linq are small but comfortable and functional. If you’re looking for a lush, luxurious hotel room this may not be for you. However, if you’re looking for a budget hotel room with a great location (center strip across from Caesars Palace) this is a perfect hotel to consider. Rates start at well below $100 per night plus resort fee.

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If you think the Strip has the market cornered for vegetarian and vegan dining, think again! Restaurants across the Valley have embraced the veggie movement, from Downtown to the ‘burbs. After all, locals don’t always want to haul it to The Strip, and visitors can get a break from the crowds and experience a more “authentic” Vegas experience.

Downtown Las Vegas

VegeNation

Downtown darling VegeNation has become the spot in Downtown Las Vegas for vegan dining … for both plant-based people and omnivores. And, with good reason. Helmed by Chef Donald Lemperle, the restaurant creates flavorful street food from around the world. Start your meal with a Bao Wow (Asian BBQ tofu in a bao bun), then check out the portobello sliders (Downtown Tony) and finish it up with a gooey, cruelty-free brownie sundae. Serving locally-sourced fruits and veggies, VegeNation offers daily POPUP menus, a killer two-for-one happy hour of locally-owned booze options, a sweet weekend brunch complete with “chicken” and waffles (the best version you will find in town) and more. If you’re around the last Monday of every month from 6 – 8 p.m., head to VegeNation for their Vegans, Baby meetup that includes a complimentary cocktail, special POPUP menu, live DJ and — of course — cool vegans to hang with.

616 E. Carson Ave., Suite 120, Las Vegas, 89101 (702) 366.8515 http://vegenationlv.com/


Simply Pure

Raw Angel Hair Zucchini Pasta with Sundried Tomaotes and Crimini Mushrooms. Photo Courtesy of Simply Pure

Simply Pure by Chef Stacy Dougan, is located in the hip Container Park. Dougan, a former chef with Wynn, has created a popular gourmet vegan/vegetarian café. With offerings like a vegan salad bar to vegan nachos and everything in between, it is the ultimate dining option for vegans or vegetarians who don’t just want to eat a boring dish. She even offers raw takes on her dishes. Dougan’s take on chicken salad, beef and more has earned rave reviews and is worth a stop in. Or multiple stops in.

707 Fremont St., Suite 2310, Las Vegas 89101, (702) 810-5641

MTO Cafes

Vegan Falafel. Photo Courtesy of MTO Cafe

While this popular dining spot isn’t strictly veggie or vegan MTO Cafe keeps these guests in mind with its vegan-friendly menu. Although bacon-covered sandwiches come to the table, people can also order such treats as vegan carrot coconut pancakes, vegan falafel, organic and healthy salads like the Celery Sucker (collard greens, quinoa, tzatiki, baba ganoush, tomatoes and cucumbers) and omelets. With two locations – Downtown and Summerlin – this locally owned shop is a popular breakfast and lunch spot.

Downtown – 500 S. Main Street, Las Vegas 89101 (702) 380-8229
Summerlin – 10970 Rosemary Park Drive, Suite 100, Las Vegas 89135 (702) 982-0770 mtocafe.com

Le Thai
Located in the heart of the action in Downtown Vegas, Le Thai offers its vegetarian twist on traditional Thai dishes. Think red curry with tofu. Yellow curry with tofu. Tom yum soup with tofu. Granted, it isn’t especially creative, but the Thai food here is super flavorful in a cozy setting. Check it out at lunch and order the $9.95 special.

523 E. Fremont St., Las Vegas, 89101 (702) 778-0888 lethaivegas.com

Chinatown

Veggie House
Located in Chinatown, just a few minutes from The Strip, Veggie House offers plenty of veggie and vegan options. This spot is total veg/vegan, but even for you meat-eaters out there, give it a go! We promise, you don’t have to keep the course, but these dishes are worth a quick meal convert. Try the Crispy Eggplant or Bamboo Flower with Tofu dishes for some tasty dining options.

5155 Spring Mountain Rd., Las Vegas, 89146 (702) 431.5802 yelp.com

Veggie Delight
One of the few totally vegan/vegetarian spots in the Valley, this Chinatown restaurant has become known for its healthy dining and teas. Veggie Delight serves fresh smoothies, juices, and Chinese and Vietnamese meals packed with tofu and “meat.” Have a craving for fried yummy? Try the crispy “chicken” or deep fried tofu, then wash it down with a fresh fruit juice or smoothie.

3504 Wynn Road, Las Vegas, 89103 (702) 310-6565 veggiedelight.biz

Ronald’s Donuts
If vegans could have a dessert paradise, this would be it. Vegan donuts win here and no stop in Vegas is complete without grabbing a fresh sweet like this. Picked as one of the top vegan donut spots in the USA by PETA, this shop serves a whopping selection of vegan morsels like cinnamon rolls, bear claws and soy custard donuts.

4600 Spring Mountain Road, Las Vegas, 89102 (702) 873-1032 yelp.com

The Burbs

Go Raw Café

Burger and Salad. Photo Courtesy of Go Raw Cafe

This little spot has two locations in the Valley. Part restaurant(ish), part shop, this raw café offers a multitude of healthy options for vegetarians and vegans. With toasts, salads, wraps and entrees (like the “cheese” “burger”), Go Raw is the ideal spot for people to get their fix of healthy and mindful food. Plus, people can purchase many of these items to enjoy at home, too.

The Lakes – 2910 Lake East Drive, Las Vegas, 89117 (702) 254-5382
Green Valley – 2381 E. Windmill Lane, Las Vegas, 89123 (702) 450-9007
gorawcafe.com

LYFE Kitchen

LYFE Kitchen’s menu is a lot of plant and whole-grain dishes designed to deliver protein without the meat, and give you the ultimate taste for under 600 calories a pop. This popular spot, with locations popping up all over the US, serves such goodies as morning tofu wraps, Gardein sausages, unfried buffalo chicken strips and more. Plus, they’ve got a wine and beer list to wash it all down.

140 S. Green Valley Parkway, #142, Henderson, 89102, (702) 558-0131 lyfekitchen.com

Sunrise Coffee
This neighborhood haunt caters to everyone in the neighborhood. Besides it’s organic, fair trade coffee, it also offers a bounty of veggie and vegan options. For a hearty breakfast, try Sunrise Coffee’s Nomnom burrito packed with vegetarian beans, eggs, cheese and more. For lunch, order the three-bean chili or the tofurky sandwich. What’s better – many of the vegetarian options can be made vegan, too.

3130 E. Sunset Road, Las Vegas, 89123, (702) 433-3304 sunrisecoffeelv.com

Bonus Pick – Head to a Farmers Market!

Bite Vegan Bakery
Vegans can enjoy all the bready breakfast yummy! Bite Vegan Bakery offers more than two dozen waffle varities, like cookie and cream, pina colada, peanut butter and more. They’ve even got vegan marshmallows and vegan ice cream with coconut or almond bases. Find all the breakfast deliciousness every Saturday morning from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Fresh52 in Tivoli Village, 440 S. Rampart Blvd., Las Vegas, 89145 ivebeenbitten.com

Want more? For more vegan or vegetarian dining options in town, check out Diana’s new web site Vegans, Baby. If you’d like to recommend your favorite Vegan dining spot, let us know by leaving a comment.

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